5 useful tips

Before heading out

Stay ahead

Navigation is a life-long learning process, and there is always more to find out and new places to explore. When you know the basics, you can learn more, explore more and go even further.

When heading out for a hike in an unknown environment, details and preparations are crucial. Remember to take enough water and supplies for your adventure and make sure you have the right equipment to keep you dry and comfortable.

1. Plan your trip

Before heading out, plan your trip. Take a good look at the map and learn to read the graphics. Mark good spots for pausing, or where you’ll find a nice view or a beautiful scenery.

2. Navigate safely

Use significant terrain objects to mark your route, both when planning but also when travelling. Examples include rivers and lakes, hills, fields, paths, roads and power lines. By holding onto this visual “handrail” you travel faster and more safely, reducing the number of possible route-finding errors.

3. Do not trust the weather

The weather can change quickly in the mountains or at sea, never take clear visibility for granted. Be sure how to use a compass and read a map to stay safe and find your way home. Practice it often. You might also benefit from bringing along a couple of dry bags or a rain cover for your backpack in order to stay dry and protect your gear.

4. The right knowledge

Using a map and a compass is just as much about getting lost as it is about staying on course. With the right knowledge you can safely get off — and back on – your planned route, and go wherever you want to go. Stay calm, and enjoy your hike, run, walk or wander.

Navigation is a life-long learning process, and there is always more to find out and new places to explore. There is a wide range of compasses, that all will take you to your destination.

5. Positioning with cross-bearings

By following the Silva 1-2-3 System in reverse order, it’s easy to plot a compass bearing onto a map. Take a bearing to an object in the field that you can also locate on the map. Place the compass on the map with the baseplate’s long side intersecting the object to which the bearing was taken. Draw a line along the baseplate, and your position is somewhere along this line.

Repeat the procedure using another object that you can see from your current location and you’ll be at the intersection of the two lines. For best accuracy, use objects that are on a 90-degree angle from each other versus your location. For even greater accuracy, use three lines.

How to Navigate

Navigating with a map and a compass is as easy as 1-2-3. But there are a few things to learn before heading out.

How compasses work

Besides learning how to navigate the easy Silva 1-2-3 way it is also useful to know the basics of compasses.

Find your compass

From beginner to expert, find the compass best suited for your needs.